Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?
LOL, FWIW my first Aikido teacher (5-6 years) was a student of Tohei when Tohei first broke with the Aikikai and was trained to be one of the "new elite." He definitely thought that the sun rose and set on Tohei and was rather reluctant to even acknowledge Ueshiba Morihei . . . well such was the time. I definitely learned things from my first sensei.
I went to Japan with a letter of introduction to Tohei sensei, but he was back in the U.S. Now I was basically taught that those outside of our organization were devil's spawn and should be avoided at all costs. But then, I will probably never be accused of being overly conforming . . . I trained with all the sensei's I could in the Tohoku region. To my knowledge they were all Aikikai, which at the time I assumed meant that they all trained the same way . . . the devi'ls spawn way. So, when I first started I stunk at what they did which wasn't a big surprise, but I tried to learn "their" way. Dojo after dojo I was told, "Oh no. Not like that! That is wrong because X, Y, Z. and ours is right because of A, B, C. It was the same in pretty much every dojo and I quickly became rather depressed. There was no "One true way." There was a whole lot of "our ways."
My primary teacher, the one I referred to in my post, pre-dates Tohei by about a decade. He thought the about Ueshiba Morihei the way my first teacher thought about Tohei sensei. I think he became a member of Aiki-kai by default after the Aiki kai was established, and remained so until the end of his life, out of dedication to his teacher. However, I was never Aikikai, because my teacher never asked me to join although he did give his full approval of the opening of my dojo . . . which I'm almost certain would have NEVER been approved of by the Aikikai. I definitely learned many things from my primary teacher.
Personally I like small groups, rather informal organizations and strong personal relationships. I find I learn best in those circumstances whether it be training in techniques, internal strength, or spiritual development. But that's me. I agree with what Keith wrote when he said:
"If you feel you've got all you want and/or need, life is really good. If you see or feel something that seems like it could help you, life is really good."
But that's just me too. For my part, I was sharing my reasons for training internal strength, which, mistakenly or not, I thought the thread was about. Of course everyone has their own experiences, feelings, reasons, etc. If we didn't there would be no need for sharing I suppose.